For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day listings of what's showing on local screens every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.
This period sees four new releases in the local cinemas. There is mystery and suspense with the spy drama Bridge of Spies (12A); Christmas comedy with Christmas with the Coopers (12A); family animation in The Good Dinosaur (PG) and classic horror in Victor Frankenstein (12A).
Movies that have vanished from our screens include Burnt and the science fiction drama The Martian. However the family film Maya the Bee has makes a return for the weekend.
The big films at the moment are James Bond in Spectre and the conclusion of the Hunger Games in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 2. In addition there is crime drama with Black Mass; horror in Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension and a more gentle drama with The Lady in the Van. Perhaps less intense but equally enjoyable are the period romance Brooklyn and teen romance/drama in Paper Towns.
Family entertainment is available with Hotel Transylvania 2; Inside Out; Minions; Pan and the new animation adventure The Good Dinosaur. However the only Christmas themed movie at the moment is the comedy Christmas with the Coopers.
Culture is represented with ENO: The Mikado.
Bridge of Spies
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast includes: Tom Hanks, Amy Ryan, Mark Rylance, Austin Stowell
A cold war drama, based on a genuine incident. Rudolf Abel (Rylance)
is a spy working for the Soviet Union who has been captured in the USA.
He is to be put on trial and James Donovan (Hanks), an insurance
lawyer, is given the job of acting as his defence. Meanwhile, a secret
American Spy plane is shot down in Soviet airspace and the pilot,
Francis Gary Powers (Stowell) is captured by the Russians and convicted
of espionage. Neither America nor Russia want their respective officers
interrogated by the other side and hence Donovan is tasked with
organising a prisoner exchange. This is a fine spy drama, more dialogue
and politics than action but it succeeds in building the tension. Both
Hanks and Rylance give excellent performances and Spielberg masterfully
created the ambience of the cold war period.
Director: John Crowley
Cast includes: Saoirse Ronan, Fiona Glascott, Emory Cohen.
The movie is a period drama, based on the novel by Colm Toibin. Eilis
Lacey (Ronan) grew up in Ireland, but her sister (Glascott) arranged for
her to move to Brooklyn for a chance to find a better future.
Initially homesick, Eilis finds lodgings, a job and subsequently romance
in the form of Tony (Cohen) who she meets at a dance. However back
home her sister Rose dies and her mother gets her to return to Ireland.
Here Eilis must decide whether to continue with her life at home or to
return to New York. The film has been well received and is marked by
very strong acting. An excellent movie that will tug at the
Far From the Madding Crowd
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Cast Includes: Juno Temple, Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen
The latest film adaptation of Thomas Hardy's classic novel of
the same name. Bathsheba Everdene (Mulligan) is a willful young woman
who has come into property by inheritance. Her looks and manner result
in three potential suitors looking to marry her, a sheep farmer Gabriel
Oaks (Schoenaerts), a middle aged neighbour William Boldwood (Sheen) and
a handsome Sargent Frank Troy (Sturridge). However Bathsheba comes to
regret her choice of husband. This is a fine adaption of what is a
difficult novel to bring to the screen. The scenery is glorious and
acting excellent. A solid period drama romance.
Director: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
Cast Includes: Sandra Bullock, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan, Jennifer Saunders.
The film is both a spin off and a prequel to the Despicable Me
franchise. The Minions have always existed on earth and the movie begins
by tracing their evolution. They have the purpose of serving the most
despicable of masters thought not very successfully. The race finally
retired to the Antarctic where they fare badly. Hence Minions Kevin,
Stuart and Bob decide to seek a new master for their race to work for.
In a villain convention in Orlando they decide to serve the supervillain
Scarlet Overkill (Bullock) who is planning to overthrow the Queen of
England and the film, using skits and Musical numbers follows this plot.
The Minions were the best part of the Despicable Me franchise and so
it is fitting that they have their own film. The movie is very
entertaining, inoffensive and funny and will delight all ages. However
this reviewer would have liked more minions and fewer supervillains.
Director: Joe Wright
Cast Includes: Hugh Jackman, Levi Miller, Amanda Seyfried, Kathy Burke, Garrett Hedlund
A prequel to the story of Peter Pan. Peter (Miller) is abandoned by
his mother and brought up in an orphanage run by Mother Barnabus
(Burke). He is captured by pirates and taken to the magical world of
Neverland where he is forced into slave labour by Bluebeard (Jackman).
Peter and his friend James Hook (Hedlund) manage to escape to the forest
where Peter befriends the fairy Tinker Bell. The fairies fight and
defeat the pirates and Hook becomes captain of the Jolly Roger ship. A
rather bland and somewhat contrived movie.
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension
Director: Gregory Plotkin
Cast includes: Chris Murray, Brit Shaw, Ivy George, Dan Gill
This is the sixth instalment in the Paranormal Activity series and it
opens with a scene from Paranormal Activity 3. Ryan Fleege (Murray)
moves into a new home in California along with his wife Emily (Shaw),
daughter Leila (George) and his brother Mike (Gill). The two brothers
discover a box of old VHS tapes filmed by a previous inhabitant of the
property, starring two girls Katie and Kristi. These girls start to
communicate with the current family by means of the TV set and various
supernatural phenomena manifest within the house. Ryan brings in a
priest to perform an exorcism, but things don't go to plan, leading to
an unsettling conclusion.
Director: Sam Mendes
Cast includes: Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Christopher Waltz, Andrew Scott
The latest James Bond Movie. M engages in a political battle to keep
the secret service, in the light of a plan by Max Denbigh (Scott) to
replace the 00 program with computer surveillance. Bond meanwhile is
trying to locate Franz Oberhauser (Waltz), the suspected head of the
evil organisation 'Spectre'. The movie starts in Mexico during the Day
of the dead celebrations and thence the action continues in London, Rome
and Morocco. There are numerous over the top action sequences, car
chases, a good assortment of scary villains and exotic love interest.
However amid this harshness, the movie contains a good level of humour.
Tension builds from the very start, though some of this starts to
dissipate as the film progresses. This is James Bond from the classic
mould and Daniel Craig delivers a great performance.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
Director: Francis Lawrence
Cast includes: Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland
The concluding part of The Hunger Games series, based on the novels by
Suzanne Colins. The movie continues from the previous film. Katniss
(Lawrence) is recovering from battle, but she rejoins her comrades to
bring the revolution to the Capital and President Snow (Sunderland).
The Capital however is now peppered with booby traps awaiting for them.
The film seems to move at a slightly slower pace than the previous
instalments as there is a political element to the plot. Acting is very
convincing, the special effects are spectacular and the plot has a good
number of twists and turns. An excellent and emotional movie that
provides a satisfying and worthy conclusion to the Hunger Games
The Lady in the Van
Director: Nicholas Hytner
Cast includes: Maggie Smith, Alex Jennings
A true story, adopted from 1999 West End Play of the same name and
filmed on location in North London. In 1974, Miss Shephard (Smith) is a
woman looking for somewhere to park after being moved on the council.
Playwright Alan Bennett agrees to her parking her van (which is also her
accommodation) in his drive for a couple of days. However Miss
Shephard then lived in the drive for the next fifteen years and the film
shows the relationship between Bennett and his nuisance neighbour.
This is a warm, charming and thoroughly fun movie.